My appointment was cancelled, how soon will it be rebooked?
Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia (HSNS) has started the process of reintroducing services cancelled due to COVID-19. When your appointment will be rebooked is difficult to say at this time. Clients who were cancelled are getting priority. Clients will be contacted directly when they have been rescheduled.
My baby missed the newborn hearing screening – what should I do?
Parents of newborns who miss their first screening or follow-up should contact Hearing and Speech in their community. Staff will arrange the proper screening tests and follow-up.
What will be different about my hearing/speech appointment?
As with many other services, like hair salons, dentists, gyms, HSNS appointments will definitely look different. Here are some of the things that may be different for your appointment:
- You will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by phone and again when you enter the clinic. If you have any risk factors, your appointment will be rescheduled.
- You will be asked to wear a mask when you enter our sites.
- HSNS staff will be wearing masks as well as other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, safety glasses, face shields, and/or gowns.
- Your appointment time may be shorter than usual. HSNS wants to keep your time on-site limited in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We may do more things over the phone before your appointment (such as gather information about your concern) and after your appointment (such as share assessment results or plan goals with you) than we normally would.
I find it difficult to wear a mask, I have breathing problems that make it very uncomfortable.
We ask that you wear a mask for your safety, as our staff may work in the clinic/hospital where they see a number of people, which could potentially put you at risk. You may be able to remove the mask if we can remain 6 feet apart. (Depending on the situation, we can offer a phone or telehealth/Zoom appointment or delay the appointment for a later date when restrictions are reduced.)
Should I make and/or wear a mask to protect myself or others from COVID-19?
The Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), following the announcement by the Public Health Agency of Canada, suggested that Nova Scotians consider wearing non-medical masks for certain activities. It is important to note that this is an additional precaution, in addition to hand hygiene, that may help reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community, where physical distancing is not possible. Patients (and their essential support person) who enter a NSHA facility will be screened at the door. Those who have respiratory symptoms will be given a medical mask at that time. If they are wearing their own non-medical mask, they will be asked to use a medical mask provided to them, after completing hand hygiene.
Patients/visitors/essential support people wearing their own non-medical mask need to continue frequent hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and avoid touching their mask and face. Masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19; their main role is to protect others from your own respiratory secretions.
Without knowing how homemade masks are made, we can’t speak to their quality.
Should I bring someone with me to my hearing/speech appointment?
Yes, one caregiver per adult client. One/two support people for children, depending on current NSHA visitor restrictions for your region. No other people, including other children, will be allowed in clinic. For the time being, we ask that you follow these rules. For parents, we understand that this is a difficult request. Please ask our staff about other options for appointments and follow-up.
It is important to me that both parents attend the initial consultation/appointment, surely you do not limit to just one of us attending this appointment?
We understand that this is difficult and not ideal for parents as you work together in caring for your child. In a normal situation we would be more than happy to have all of a child's caregivers attend an appointment, however, due to the need for physical distancing, we may be unable to accommodate 2 parents in our office space at this time. This is for your safety as per the recommended guidelines by the Department of Health and Wellness. We would be happy to offer a virtual visit to have the results explained. That way you will both have the information from the session. Another option is to delay our services until we accommodate you. Unfortunately, we have to timeline for that right now and it would mean having your child wait longer to be seen.
How can I help protect myself and others from exposure to COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses?
To protect yourself and others from exposure to COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:
- Stay at home when experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- Wash hands thoroughly and often.
- Use cough/sneeze etiquette – cough/sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow, not hands – discard tissue in waste basket and clean hands with sanitizer or soap & water immediately.
- Frequently clean high-touch surfaces like counter-tops, keyboards, phones, light switches and doorknobs, etc.
For more information staying safe during COVID-19 visit: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/staying-healthy/
How do I know if I should get tested for COVID-19?
The province of Nova Scotia is asking everyone to monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid. If you have 1 (one) symptom (see list of symptoms here) the province would like you to call 811. The person on the call will help determine if there is a need for an in-person assessment. You will need to follow their advice.
Please do not go to a COVID-19 assessment centre without having been referred by 811.
Where are COVID-19 assessment centres located?
If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Don't go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 has referred you. You can find the most up-to-date list of COVID-19 assessment centres at http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-assessment.
In the last 14 days, since my appointment at HSNS, I have learned that I am COVID-19 positive. What should I do?
If you have been seen by Hearing and Speech in the last fourteen (14) days and have tested positive for Covid 19, please call your Hearing and Speech Centre to let us know.
If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for results, you should monitor yourself for symptoms (self-monitor) and self-isolate at home. You should receive a call from Public Health once your test results are known. For more information on self-monitoring and self-isolation, please visit the Government of Nova Scotia COVID-19 website.
What should I do if I have traveled outside of Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland and Labrador)?
The province of Nova Scotia, under the authority of the Health Protection Act, is requiring anyone who has travelled outside Atlantic Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon return, even if you are symptom-free. View information from the Government of Nova Scotia on how to self-isolate.
If you think you should get tested for COVID-19 you will need to call 811 to determine if there is a need for an in-person assessment. Learn when to call 811 about COVID-19.
If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Don't go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 referred you.
Is HSNS reducing access to some services to prevent the spread of illness and ensure there is capacity in the system?
Many programs and services were suspended to support our response to COVID-19. While we need to continue to respond to COVID-19 by testing, contact tracing and caring for COVID-19 patients, HSNS has reintroduced in-person services. We will follow our approved plan and work with our partners. Please have patience.